Game Guys review - Mario & Luigi: Dream Team

11:11 PM, Aug 15, 2013   |    comments
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  • Nintendo's 'Mario & Luigi: Dream Team' for the 3DS.
  • Nintendo's 'Mario & Luigi: Dream Team' for the 3DS.

The brothers are back in an all-new adventure full of three-dimensional action, adventure, and naps.

Taking a number of cues from the Super Nintendo game Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars, Nintendo 3DS game Mario & Luigi: Dream Team takes gamers to the world of Pi'illo for the fourth entry into Nintendo's Mario & Luigi franchise.  While the green-clad Luigi takes a much bigger role in this entry than in previous ones, it's still Mario who takes the spotlight - even if it takes some time for that spotlight to warm up.

In essence, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team is a turn-based RPG.  Watered down to appeal to a wider and younger audience than, say, Atlus' Crimson Gem Saga, the game hits all of the right notes and gameplay mechanics while adding some more action-type game bits from time to time including lite platforming (with independent jump buttons for each brother) and in-combat mini-sequences such as an endless runner routine during an early boss fight.  While simple as a whole, it's entertaining enough to keep one's interest despite the fact that the game starts at a snail's pace.

Outside of combat, there are various NPCs with which to converse, areas to explore, and items for Mario and Luigi to find or purchase.  Adding some canon Mario Bros. flair are the iconic floating question-mark boxes that spawn coins and items.

Where Mario & Luigi: Dream Team really finds its draw isn't with bringing in gameplay mechanics and concepts that have been tried before in this and other Mario series.  Rather, it's when Luigi falls asleep and Mario enters the dream world - something that happens with regularity once the game finally gets going.

Swiching from isometric 3D to traditional 2D when this occurs, the dream land is where this game's gimmick is exploited.  Part of this is using the stylus to mess with the snoozing Luigi to affect the dream world in the upper screen to allow the player to complete simple but fun puzzles and progress within the level.  It's a mechanic that works very well for this title, though it might not find a home in any other one.

Graphically-speaking, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team won't blow anybody away.  It employs a pre-rendered art style that (at a glance) could sometimes be mistaken for a higher-quality version of the aforementioned SNES game.  On the plus side, it's very clean and it's quite easy to tell things apart.  As is typical for these games, it's unvoiced (save for a few vocal exclamations from time to time), so expect to do a lot of reading.

While slow to get going, Mario & Luigi: Dream Team finds itself to be a fairly entertaining play.  Filled with just the right amount of Mario-esque charm and humor, it's a title that should appeal to a wide range of gamers including those who don't typically go for RPGs.  Were it not for the Mario Bros. branding, however, it might not fare quite so well.

22/25 21/25 20/25 18/25 24/25 87/100

Version tested: 3DS

(Nintendo of America supplied a copy of this game for review.)

See how what our review scores mean and how the math adds up.


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